BYU travel services: One-stop travel agency

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BYU travel services provides students and employees with an array of aides including helping airline reservations, train passes, hotel and car booking and travel document help.

Students have used these services to plan their study abroad travel, internship travel and even personal travel, domestic or international. But it’s a little known fact that these on-campus services are available to all students, not just those planning a study abroad or a similar program.

This infographic shows the distance from BYU to airports all around the world. (Photo courtesy Doug Thomas and Dina Beylis © BYU Publications & Graphics, 2013)

According to Julie Ann Zarbock, international travel professional at BYU travel services, students have used the travel office’s resources to revisit their missions after returning home. International students have often planned their trips home after many years.

Students and employees are assisted by four professional travel agents whose priority is to work with students to provide them a seamless travel experience, said to Todd Bird, manager of the international travel office, and has nearly 30 years of experience in his field.

These four agents bring decades of experience executing a combined 12,000 transactions each year according to Bird. There is still plenty of room for students to come in and use the travel services they provide. Students can visit 280-B Harold R. Clark Building, email or call the office to inquire about their travel needs.

“My motivation is when they get back that everything ran smoothly and they had no problems,” Bird said. “It’s a benefit and a pleasure to be a part of their school experience and to watch how they grow over their time here at BYU.”

BYU travel services have four branches on campus, but they are mostly done through the travel office in the Herald R. Clark Building. Other offices are located in the Student Athletics Building, for athletic travel, the Harman Building, for all EFY travel and the Smoot Administration Building, for corporate travel.

According to Bird, the office specializes in making airline reservations, among other travel needs, using consolidators and BYU contracts. Bird says BYU travel services has contracts with airline companies that allow discounts on airfare based on the volume of business BYU has provided them.

BYU travel services provides two key benefits to students, according to Bird. First, there is no service fee for BYU students. The travel office strives to create and maintain relationships so costs can be kept at the best prices they can get for student budgets.

Second, the travel office handles ticket changes, which is available during emergencies by phone 24/7. This provides peace of mind for traveling students so they do not have to handle ticket changes in places where Internet may not be readily available and to have a professional adviser with experience handling any emergencies that may present themselves.

Professional agents in the office said they love working with students.

“No day is ever the same,” said Nancy Bean, international travel professional. “A lot of students are timid to go but (end up coming) home having had a rich cultural experience.”

Agents in the office also encourage travel as part of a student’s educational experience.

Students used BYU Travel Services to plan  their internship abroad to Romania. Courtesy of Ashleigh Cox
Students used BYU Travel Services to plan their internship abroad to Romania. (Photo courtesy Ashleigh Cox)

“I think there are lessons learned that you can’t learn from a book,” said Wendy Baumgarten, international travel professional.

Bird agrees that traveling is a time to be out on your own learning to navigate a new area and maybe even a new language.

“We can give you current information as to how to be as prepared as possible,” Bird said.

According to Bird, the travel office prepares students for their journey by learning about personal safety, health in the area they are traveling to, money in the country and teaching students to remember to use common sense.

Zarbock believes students want to do more travel now than they have in the past.

“Students are able to go out and get good experience for their resumés,” Zarbock said. “Students are by and large more excited about traveling.”

BYU travel services is open in 280-B HRCB Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m. The office is closed Tuesdays from 10:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for devotionals and forums. The travel office is also available for contact at (801) 422-3872 or by email at .

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